U.S. Marshals (1998) Poster

(1998)

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  • There are no direct references to the events depicted in The Fugitive (1993), but there are some subtle allusions to the earlier film. For example, in the scene in the bar early in the film, Sam Gerard is talking about the recently-completed operation and congratulates his men by telling them, "You stayed close on the lead dawg." The use of the phrase "dawg" to describe Gerard, as in "big dawg"/"lead dawg" or so, originated in The Fugitive, where it was heard several times (usually followed by a bark from one of the marshals, which Bobby Briggs (Daniel Roebuck) provides in U.S. Marshals). Another indirect reference to The Fugitive in this scene occurs when the marshals are watching the news-report on TV. The reporter on location at the court house finishes her report and the broadcast cuts back to the anchor, who is portrayed by Lester Holt, a real life NBC anchor who, when The Fugitive was being made, was an anchor at WBBM in Chicago, and who also appears in the earlier movie as a news anchor. Another subtle reference is found when Mark Sheridan rents an apartment across from the Chinese Embassy. After looking around the apartment as the landlord talks about the merits of the room, Sheridan stops and says "It's perfect." In The Fugitive, Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) does exactly the same thing and says the same line in the exact same way when he rents the basement apartment from the Polish woman (Monika Chabrowski). Edit

  • Yes. Many fans have commented on the similarity of the plots between The Fugitive and U.S. Marshals; an innocent man wrongly accused of a murder due to a conspiracy escapes custody because of an accident and sets about proving his innocence whilst also exposing the conspiracy, all the while pursued by the marshals who are slowly beginning to think he may be innocent. On his commentary track on the special edition DVD, director Stuart Baird addresses this issue. Baird doesn't offer any explanation as to why the story involves an innocent man as opposed to a guilty one, but he does offer his opinion as to how the plot of U.S. Marshals is different from The Fugitive. Basically, Baird argues that the two films are fundamentally different because in The Fugitive, the audience knows from the very start that Richard Kimble is innocent, whereas in U.S. Marshals the audience does not know whether Mark Sheridan/Roberts/Warren is innocent or not until quite some time into the movie, and this ambiguity, Baird argues, makes the film different from its predecessor. Edit

  • Probably. There are several hints in the film that they may have once had a relationship. For example, when Gerard arrives at the party with Stacia Vela (Vaitiare Hirshon) as his date, Catherine (Kate Nelligan) seems to be a little jealous. Additionally, after Gerard has been shot and Catherine visits him in hospital, she tells him she loves him, although it is worth noting that he does not say anything in response. Also, on his commentary track, director Stuart Baird refers to Catherine as "an old flame of Gerard," so it would seem that as far as the filmmakers were concerned, Catherine and Gerard were definitely once romantically involved. Edit

  • The R1 US Special Edition DVD released by Warner Bros Home Entertainment in 1998, contains the following special features:

    • Scene-specific audio commentary with director Stuart Baird (it is worth noting in relation to Baird's commentary that the sound mix is extremely poor, with the sounds of the movie being almost at the same volume as Baird's commentary, making it extremely difficult to hear what he is saying in places. Additionally, the back of the box inaccurately advertises the commentary as feature length).

    • Trailers for The Fugitive (1993), U.S. Marshals (1998), Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973) and Wyatt Earp (1994)

    • 3 U.S. Marshals TV Spots

    • Cast & Crew Biographies and Filmographies

    • Production Notes (10 pages)

    U.S. Marshals: Justice Under the Star (1998); an 11-minute featurette looking at the history and activities of the real U.S. Marshals

    • "Anatomy of a Plane Crash" (9 featurettes looking at various aspects of the plane crash scene; "The Crash: A Five-Act Play", "Model Airplanes", "Exterior Sets", "Interior Sets", "Landing Location", "Escape Under Water", "Crash Research", "Miniature Road" and "Crash for Crash: U.S. Marshals vs. The Fugitive")

    • The R2 UK DVD, released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (UK) in 1999, contains the "Anatomy of a Plane Crash" featurette and the Production Notes, but it loses everything else. Edit

  • Yes. The US edition released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in 2012, is region free, and contains the exact same special features as its DVD counterpart. Edit

Spoilers

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The FAQ items below may give away important plot points.

  • Mark Sheridan manages to escape custody due to a plane crash brought about by a botched assassination attempt on Sheridan by convicted murderer Vincent Ling (James Sie). It is later explained that the Chinese mob organization behind the framing of Sheridan paid Ling to kill Sheridan to prevent him from talking. They paid off an airport worker to place the gun in the toilet for Ling to use. Subsequently, Xian Chen (Michael Paul Chan) slits the airport worker's throat to keep him quiet. Edit

  • She gives him the slug from when he was shot by Sheridan in the swamp. Edit

  • At the end of the film, after the marshals have captured Sheridan and he is in police custody in the hospital, Gerard realizes that DSS Agent John Royce (Robert Downey Jr.) has been a double agent the whole time due to the serial number being scratched off Sheridan's gun. However, exactly how Gerard comes to this conclusion is a little complex, and is explained very briefly in the film.

    When Gerard first meets Royce at the plane crash scene, he asks him if he carries a weapon. Royce says he does, and Gerard asks to see it. Royce produces a Taurus PT945, to which Gerard responds, "Get yourself a Glock and lose that nickel plated sissy pistol."

    The gun is next seen in the standoff in the swamp. Using a Ruger SP101, Sheridan surprises Royce and takes him hostage, also taking possession of Royce's Taurus, which he uses to shoot Gerard. Royce then manages to retake his Taurus whilst Sheridan escapes.

    The gun is next seen in the nursing home, where Royce is about to use it to kill Sheridan, before being interrupted by Newman, who catches him holding the gun to Sheridan's head. Royce shoots and kills Newman with the Taurus. After Sheridan is caught, Royce gives Gerard the gun as a piece of evidence, telling him that the gun belonged to Sheridan.

    Then, later, when Gerard and Royce are sitting outside the hospital room, Gerard is examining the Taurus (which Royce again refers to as "the gun that shot Newman") when he notices that the serial number has been filed off. He remembers Royce showing him his Taurus from their first meeting in Kentucky; obviously Gerard has now realized that the gun which shot Newman is in fact Royce's gun. Sheridan only ever had a Taurus during the brief encounter in the swamp. When Gerard interrupts Royce about to kill Sheridan, Gerard asks him "Do you want to use your old gun?" indicating the Taurus in the evidence bag. Royce says that the gun isn't his, it's Sheridan's, to which Gerard responds, No, it's yours. You just filed off the serial number. It's the gun he took away from you in the swamp. The gun he shot me with, the one which you've been carrying since that day. What do you want to bet that bullets pulled out of my vest match the ones that killed Newman?

    There were never two Taurus guns in play; there was only ever one, Royce's. In an attempt to ensure no one would realize that the gun used to shoot Newman was his gun, Royce filed off the serial number and presented it as evidence, however it is this very precaution which ultimately causes his failure, as it is when Gerard sees the filed off number that he realizes there was only ever one Taurus.

    Some fans have speculated that perhaps Gerard didn't realize Royce got his gun back in the swamp, thinking that he only retook possession of it in the nursing home. However, this cannot be so, as if it were, Royce would not need to file off the serial number, as everyone would know that it was his gun that was used to shoot Newman, as Sheridan had apparently taken it from him.

    The IMFDb has plenty of information on this subject, and some excellent stills from the film; go here for more information. Edit

  • The conspiracy which Sheridan is attempting to unravel concerns the selling of state secrets to the Chinese (represented by Xian Chen). The two men behind the conspiracy are Frank Burrows (Rick Snyder) and John Royce. When delivering the documents to Chen, Royce and Burrows use Sheridan as their bag man, although he is unaware what he is delivering and where his orders are coming from. Barrows' superior however, Bertram Lamb (Patrick Malahide), is aware of the fact that someone on the inside is involved, so he sends two agents to intercept the sale. These two agents are killed by Sheridan, who flees the city, changing his name and getting a job as a tow truck driver. After the death of the agents, Royce and Barrows decide to frame Sheridan for the whole thing. They plant his fingerprints at the murder scene (despite the fact that he was wearing gloves for the entire time), and once he is in police custody, they (or perhaps their Chinese co-conspirators) pay off an airport worker to give the gun to an assassin on the plane. When Sheridan escapes however, Royce is assigned by Barrows to Gerard's team, presumably to ensure that Sheridan never gets the opportunity to talk, which is why he tries to kill him several times throughout the film. Edit

See also

Awards | User Reviews | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


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